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Agri Min all set to monitor pesticide residues in fruits and vegetables

Agri Min all set  to monitor pesticide residues in fruits and vegetables
In a move aimed at putting a check on use of banned pesticides in fruits and vegetables, the Union Agriculture Ministry is all set to launch monitoring of pesticide residues at national level programme.

Under the scheme samples of fruits & vegetables will collected and analysed for the presence of pesticide residues. Informing this in the Lok Sabha on Tuesday, Minister of State for Agriculture Sanjeev Kumar Balyan said no residues of banned pesticides have been detected in any of the samples collected under this programme.

Balyan, however, said there have been reports in media about use of toxic substances like calcium carbide and oxytocin for early ripening of fruits and vegetables which, according to food safety and standards regulations are prohibited for sale. Endorsing the use of ethylene gas, the minister said use of this gas in low concentration exogenously to trigger ripening of fruits is considered safe.

The minister said the commissioners of food safety/food (health) authority of states/UTs who are responsible for implementation of the Food Safety and Standard Act, 2006 and its rules/regulations in their states/UTs have been requested to keep a strict vigil on and take legal action against use of carbide gas and other hazardous chemicals for ripening of fruits.

“The state governments have also been advised to educate the public through mass electronic media against consumption of such artificially ripened fruits,” Balyan stated. During 2011-2014, out of 25,664 vegetable samples, 764 (2.9 per cent) samples were found to contain pesticide residues above the maximum permissible residues level (MRL). Out of 7,501 fruits samples, the residues above MRL were detected in 88 (1.1 per cent) samples. However, none of the banned pesticides were detected, Balyan said.
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